The 2019 PA Abortion Report is out. Abortions to residents of Pennsylvania increased from 28,240 to 28,796, or about 2%. In Allegheny County, there were 386 more abortions performed than the year before, an increase of 6.3%.
Vision for Life advertises in Allegheny County on Facebook to residents of the County. (Some of the abortions performed in Allegheny County would be on non-residents – people coming from surrounding counties and nearby states. They would not see our Facebook ads.) We also want to measure the effect of our advertising on all pregnant women considering abortion, so we don’t look at raw numbers so much: pregnancy rates have been going down, and we want to see what proportion of all pregnant women chose life. So we look instead at the ratios of abortions to births for residents of Allegheny County. Abortions to this group were up 8.6%, from 3,007 to 3,265.
When we compare abortions to residents in Allegheny County to those to residents in Philadelphia County, where 40% of Pennsylvania’s abortions are performed, we see that both saw an uptick in abortion ratios.
What else do we learn from the report?
Abortion patients are getting older
It is common for people to think that the average abortion patient is a teenager who made a mistake. There are, of course, some teenagers in that category, but most abortions are to adult women. The PA Abortion Report tells us that “more than 87 percent (27,221) of the abortions performed in Pennsylvania in 2019 were to unmarried women. The largest age group having abortions was 25–29, accounting for 9,529 (29.9 percent) of all 2019 abortions.” In fact, the trend over the last many years has been for younger women as a group to have fewer abortions, and older ones to have more.
What may surprise some is the high rate of multiple abortions. More than 1 out of 10 abortions is the woman’s fourth abortion, or more. Is abortion being used as a method of birth control here? Are there psychological problems that lead women to abort repeatedly?
The percentages have been generated by Excel using data for first and previous abortions from the Department of Health. For some reason, the percentages do not total to 100.
Chris Humphrey has been involved in pro-life activity of one kind or another since the late 1970s, when he first looked at the subject of abortion in seminary in Canada. He has an undergraduate degree in English (University of Toronto), and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in religious studies (McGill). He has had a varied career as a pastor, chaplain in a psychiatric hospital, editor of academic and instructional publications, semi-professional photographer, and home renovator. He is a husband of over 45 years to Edith (a Professor of New Testament), father to three girls, and grandfather to seventeen grandchildren. He lives and works in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh.